- - Monday, December 12, 2011


Fed nears a plan to clarify direction of rates

The Federal Reserve under Ben S. Bernanke has done more to explain its policies to the public than ever before. It’s ready to go further still.

A Fed policy meeting Tuesday will likely focus, in part, on an evolving plan to reveal the direction of interest rates more explicitly. The Fed may decide, for example, to regularly update the public on how long it plans to keep short-term rates at record lows.

The new communications strategy could be unveiled as soon as next month.

Most analysts expect no announcements Tuesday about the new strategy or any further steps to try to strengthen the economy. They think the Fed wants to delay any new programs, such as additional bond purchases, to see if the economy can continue the modest gains it’s been making.


Intel cuts outlook, cites supply shortages

SANTA CLARA — After chip-maker Intel Corp. cut its fourth-quarter revenue outlook Monday because of hard-disk-drive shortages stemming from massive flooding in Thailand, shares for the entire sector sank.

Only stocks of financial companies fell more sharply as their industry was dogged by renewed anxiety about the debt crisis in Europe.

Intel, based in Santa Clara, Calif., now expects fourth-quarter revenues of $13.4 billion to $14 billion, down from $14.2 billion to $15.2 billion during the key holiday quarter. Wall Street was looking for revenue of $14.65 billion, according to FactSet.

Shares of Intel, the world’s largest maker of microprocessors, fell $1.08, or 4.3 percent, to $23.94 Monday.

Shares of rival Advanced Micro Devices Inc. slipped 24 cents, also 4.3 percent, to $5.30. Shares of Texas Instruments, meanwhile, were down 84 cents, or 2.8 percent, trading at $29.10.


French nuclear giant to post large loss

PARIS | France’s state-controlled nuclear engineering giant Areva said Monday it will post a massive full-year loss in 2011 because it had to set aside more than $2.65 billion to deal with the impacts of a troubled mining project in Namibia and Japan’s Fukushima nuclear disaster in March.

Areva said it expects to sustain an operating loss of between $1.86 billion and $2.12 billion this year, compared with a profit of $1.17 billion in 2010.

Areva’s new chief executive, Luc Oursel, is scheduled Tuesday to present the company’s five-year turnaround strategy for the company aimed at slashing its operating costs by up to $1.33 billion annually by 2015.

The company said its 2011 results would include $3.13 billion in financial charges, including $1.93 billion for the Namibia mining operation and other projects undertaken in the Central African Republic and South Africa by Areva subsidiary UraMin.


Former Blackwater firm undergoes name change

The security firm once known as Blackwater is changing its name for a second time as its owners continue to reshape the company they bought from its founder a year ago.

The new name is Academi, which the company said Monday is based on the ancient Greek philosopher Plato’s institution for developing thinkers and warriors.

Blackwater originally changed its name to Xe Services in March 2009 as it battled allegations that its private guards in Iraq were trigger-happy.

A new investor group, USTC Holdings, bought the company in December 2010 and founding CEO Erik Prince left.

The new owners relocated the company’s headquarters from North Carolina to Northern Virginia, where a large number of security contractors are based.


GM suspends car production at plant

LORDSTOWN — The northeast Ohio GM plant that makes the Chevrolet Cruze compact car is halting production because of what the automaker says is a supplier issue.

The General Motors Co. says the shutdown at the complex in Lordstown, outside Youngstown, begins with Monday night shifts and early Monday shifts are expected to be shortened. The complex, with production and stamping plants, employs about 4,500 people.

The Detroit-based automaker says it is working with the supplier in an effort to resume production soon.

From wire dispatches and staff reports



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